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BIBLE CALVINISM.

and saw thee polluted in thy blood, I said to thee, Live. I entered into a covenant with thee-I put a beautiful crown upon thy head: Thou didst prosper into a kingdom, and thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty, for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord," Ezek. xvi. 3, &c. If this could be said to Jewish Jerusalem, how much more to Protestant London?

Should rigid Arminians still assert, that there is absolutely no respect of places and persons with God; I desire the opposers of God's gracious partiality to answer the following questions: Why did not the Spirit suffer Paul to go into Bithynia, when he assayed to do it? Why did a vision direct him to go into Macedonia? Does it appear from the cruel reception which he met with at Philippi, that the people of that place were worthy of the gospel above all people? Could the people of Babylon have shewed more aversion to the truth? And could not God have raised himself a Christian church in Bithynia, as well as in Macedonia, by shaking the foundation of the houses there, in defence of Paul's innocence?

When the apostle says, "The time of [heathenish] ignorance God winked at, but now, [explicitly] commandeth [by his evangelists] all men, every-where to repent," Acts xvii. 30. does he not represent God as being partial to all those men to whom he sends Apostles, or messengers, on purpose to bid them repent? And does not the Lord shew us more distinguishing love, than he did to all the nations, which he suffered to walk in their own ways,—without the gospel of Christ," aliens from the common-wealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope [founded upon a gospel message,] and no [peculiarly-revealed] God in the world?" Acts xiv. 16. Eph.

ii. 12.

Again: When St. Paul observes, that “God spake in time past to the fathers by the prophets but hath, in these last days, spoken to us by his Son," Heb. i. 1, 2, is it not evident, that be pleads for the partiality of distinguishing grace: intimating that God has favoured us more than he did the fathers? And has not our Lord strongly asserted the same thing, where he says, "Blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear for verily I say unto you, that many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them?" Matt. xiii. 16, 17.

Once more: What is the gospel of Christ, from first to last, but a glorious blessing flow. ing from distinguishing grace; a blessing from

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pel-truths, which they inconsistently mixed with these errors, and by God's over-ruling their mistakes. The doctrines of distributive justice belong no more to rigid Calvinism, than to Nero's private system of policy: but as good magistrates, even under Nero's authority, steadily punished vice, and reward. ed virtue; so good men who have the misfortune to be involved in rigid Calvinism, inconsistently deter men from sin, by preaching the terrors of a sin-avenging God, and by pointing out the rewards of grace and glory, which await the faithful. Add to this, that by still holding out the law of God to the unawakened, though that kind of preaching is absurd upon their system, yet they do good because, so far they preach the doctrines of justice. And by preaching 66 a rule of life" to believers, they now and then meet with professors ingenious enough to follow that rule. For, as there are even in Billingsgate, persons cleanly enough to wash their hands, although their neighbours should constantly assure them, that they can never get one speck of dirt off;-that the king must do it all away himself, in the day of his power; that in the mean time, his majesty sees no dirt upon their hands, because he looks at them only through the hands of the Prince of Wales, which are as white as snow, and the cleanness of which his Majesty is pleased to impute to their dirty hands. And besides, that dirt will work for their good,-will display the strength of their constitution,-will set off, by and by, the cleansing virtue of soap and water, and will make dirty people sing louder at court, when the king's irresis tible power, and their own deadly sweats shall have cleansed their hands:-As there are cleanly persons, I say, who would wash their hands, notwithstanding such dirty hints as these; so there are some sincere souls, among every denomination of Christians, who hate sin, and depart from it, notwithstanding all that some mistaken theologists may say, to make them continue in sin, that the graces of humility and of faith in the atoning blood, may be abundantly exercised.

Again the rigid Arminians are greatly deficient in exalting God's purtial grace, and the rich election which flows to Christian believers from this grace. Now when the Calvinists, preach to Christians a gratuitous election of distinguishing grace, though they do not preach it aright, yet they say many things which border upon the truth, and by which God sometimes raises the gratitude and comforts of some of his people: over ruling Calvin's mistakes to their consolation as he over-ruled to our comfort the highpriest's dreadful sentence, " Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people."

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which all mankind were reprobated for four
thousand years, and from which the general-
ity of men are to this day cut off by awful,
providential decrees? When the Pelagians,
and rigid Arminians, therefore, are ashamed
to shout the partiality of God's free, distin-
guishing grace towards us [Christians,] are
they not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, and
of the election of peculiar grace, by which
we are raised so far above the dispensations
of the Jews and Heathens :-A precious and
exalted election or predestination, in which
St. Paul, and the primitive Christians could
never sufficiently glory, (as appears by Eph.
i. 2, 3.) and of which it is almost as wicked
to be ashamed, as it is to be ashamed of
Christ himself. Nay, to slight our election
of grace, our election in Christ, is to be
ashamed of our evangelical crown, which is
more inexcusable, than to blush at our evan-
gelical cross.

Hence it appears, that the genuine tenden-
cy of Pelagius's error, towards which rigid
Arminians lean too much, is to make us
[Christians] fight against God's distinguish-
ing love to us; or, at least, to hide from us
"the riches of the [peculiar] grace wherein
God hath abounded towards us in all wis-
dom and prudence, having made known to
us the mystery of his will according to his
good pleasure, which he proposed in himself,
when he predestinated us, according to the
counsel of his grace, and the good pleasure
of his will to the praise of the glory of his
[peculiar] grace, wherein he made us accept-
ed in the Beloved [and his dispensation,]
that we should be to the praise of his glory:"
i. e. that we [Christians] should shew forth
the praises of his distinguishing mercy, and
glorify him for bestowing upon us those
evangelical favours, from which he still re-
probates so many myriads of our fellow-crea-

tures.

O Pelagianism, thou wretched, levelling system, how can we christians, sufficiently detest thee, for thus robbing us of the peculiar comforts arising from the election of grace, which so eminently distinguishes us from Jews, Turks, and Heathens! And how can we sufficiently decry thee, for robbing, by this means, our Sovereign Benefactor of the praise of the glory of his grace ! Were it not for Pelagian unbelief, which makes us regardless of the comforts of our gratuitous election in Christ, and for whims of Calvinian rebrobation, which damp or destroy these comforts; all Christians would always triumph in Christ; and, rejoicing with joy unspeakable and full of glory, in the vocation wherewith they are called, they would thank God for his unspeakable gift. They would shout electing love as loudly as Zelotes, but not in the unnatural, unscriptu

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Never did a prophet preach the atonement more clearly than Caiaphas does in these words. Just so do pious Calvinists preach the clection of grace, and in the same manner is their preaching over-ruled to the comfort of some.

Butalas! if this confused method of preaching election is indirectly helpful to a few, is it not directly pernicious to multitudes, whom it tempts to rise to the presumption "of Mr. Fulsome," or to sink into the despair of Francis Spira? Besides, would not doubting christians be sufficiently cheered by the scriptural doctrine of our election, as it is held forth in the Essay on Scripture Calvinism? Are those liquors best, which are made strong and heady by intoxicating and poisoning ingredients? Cannot the doctrine of our gratuitous election in Christ be comfortable, unless it be adulterated with Antinomianism, Fatalism, Manecheism, and a reprobation, which necessarily drags most of our friends and neighbours into the bottomless pit? And might we not so preach our judicial election by Christ, and so point out the greatness of the helps which the gospel affords us to make this election sure, as to excite the careless to diligence, without driving them upon the fatal rocks, by which the Soliidian-Babel is surrounded.

From the preceding remarks it follows, that the error of rigid Calvinists centers in the denial of that evangelical liberty, whereby all men, under various dispensations of grace, may, without necessity, choose life in the day of their initial salvation. And the error of rigid Arminians consists in not paying a cheerful homage to redeeming grace, for all the liberty and power which we have to choose life, and to work righteousness since the Fall. Did the followers of Calvin see the necessary connexion there is, between the freedom of our will, and the distributive justice of God our Judge, they would instant. ly renounce the errors of calvinian necessity, and rigid bound-will. And did the rigid fol lowers of Arminius discover the inseparable union there is since the Fall, between our free-agency to good, and the free, redeeming grace of God our Saviour, they would readily give up the errors of pharisaical self-sufficien cy, and rigid free-will.

To avoid equally these two extremes, we need only follow the Scripture-doctrine of free will restored and assisted by free-grace. According to this doctrine, in order to repent believe, or obey, we stand in need of a talent of power to will and to do. God, of his good pleasure, gives us this talent for Christ's sake: and our liberty consists in not being necessitated to make a good or bad use of this talent, to the end of our life. But we must remember, that as this precious talent

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ral, barbarous, damnatory sense, in which he does it. They would not say, "Why me, Lord? Why me? Why am I absolutely appointed to eternal justification, and finished salvation, let me do what I will; till irresist ible free grace necessitates me to leave my sins and go to heaven; whilst most of my neighbours, [poor creatures !] are absolutely appointed to eternal wickedness, and finished damnation, let them do what they can; till necessitating free-wrath makes them draw back to perdition, that they may be eternally damned?"-But with what charitable and wondering gratitude, they would cry out, "Why us, Lord? Why us? Why are we [Christians] predestinated and elected to the blessings of the full gospel of Christ from which Enoch, the man who walked with thee, Abraham, the man whom thou calledst thy friend, Moses, the man who talked with thee face to face, David, the man after thy own heart, Daniel, the man greatly beloved, -and John the Baptist, the man who excel led all the Jewish Prophets, were every one reprobated?"

In such evangelical strains as these, should Christians express before God their peculiar gratitude, for their peculiar election and calling: and then, running to each other, with hearts and mouths full of evangelical congratulations, they should say, as the Apostle did to Timothy, "God hath saved us [Christians] and called us with a holy [christian] calling; not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us [Christians] in Christ Jesus, before the world began, [when God planned the various dispensations of his grace] but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel," [of Christ, a precious, perfect gospel, with which he has blessed us, as well as our neighbours, who are ungrateful enough to put it from them,] 2 Tim. i. 9, 10. In a word, they should all say to their brethren in the election of [Christian] grace: "Blessed be the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again to a lively hope by the resurrection of Christ, in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice, receiving the end of your [Christian] faith, even the [Christian] salvation of your souls: of which salvation the Prophets enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the [Christian] grace that should come unto you unto whom, it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us [Christians] they did minister the things which are now reported unto you, by them that have preached the gospel unto you, with the Holy Ghost

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comes entirely from redeeming grace, so the right use of it is first of redeeming grace, and next of our own unnecessitated [though assisted] free-will: Whereas the wrong use of it is of our own choice only ;-an unneces sitated choice, which constitutes us legally punishable; as our unnecessitated choice of offered life, [through God's gracious appointment] constitutes us evangelically rewardable.

Hence it follows, that our accepted time, or day of salvation begun, has but one cause, namely the mercy of God in Christ: whereas our continued and eternal salvation has two causes. The first of which is a primary and proper cause, namely, The mercy of God in Christ: The second is a secondary or improper cause, or, if you please, a condition; namely, The works of faith. Nor do some Calvinists scruple, any more than we, to call these works a cause, improperly speaking. Only like physicians, who write their precriptions in Latin, to keep their ignorant patients in the dark, they call it Causa sine qua non; that is, in plain English, "A cause, which, if it be absent, absolutely hinders an effect from taking place." Thus a mother is not the primary cause of her child's conception, but causa sine qua non; that is, such a cause as, if it had been wanting, would have absolutely prevented his being conceived.

If the Calvinists will speak the truth in Latin, I will speak it in plain English. And therefore, standing up still as a witness of the marriage between prevenient Free-grace, and obedient Free-will, [an evangelical mar riage this, which I have proved in the Scripture Scales;] I assert, upon the arguments contained in this two-fold Essay, that our eternal salvation depends, first, on God's free grace; and secondly, on our practical submis sion to the doctrines of grace and justice; or, if you please, on our making our election of grace and justice sure by faith and its works.

To be a little more explicit: Our day of salvation begun, is merely of free grace, and prevents all faith and works; since all saving faith, and all good works flow from a begin ning of free salvation. But this is not the case with our continued and eternal salvation: for this salvation depends upon the concur rence of two causes; the first of which prevenient and assisting free-grace, which I beg leave to call the father-cause; and the second is submissive and obedient free-will which I take the liberty to call the mothercause.. And I dare say, that the Pelagians will as soon find on earth an adult man, who came into this world without a father; and that the Calvinists will as soon find one who was born without a mother, as they will find an adult person in heaven, who came there without the concurrence of free-grace, and

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sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into," 1 Pet. i. 8, &c. Unto him, therefore, that so peculiarly loved us, as to elect and call us into his Christian, reformed church, which he hath purchased with his own blood; [peculiarly redeeming it from Heathenish ignorance, Jewish bondage, and Popish superstition]-"Unto him, (I say) that thus loved us [reformed Christians] and washed us from our sins [not by the blood of lambs, and heifers, as Aaron washed the Jews, but] by his own blood, and hath made us, [who believe] kings and priests to God and his Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever," Rev. i. 5, 6. Acts xx. 28. But while reformed Christians express thus their joy and gratitude, for their election to this peculiar salvation; they should not forget to guard this comfortable doctrine, in as anti-solifidian a manner as St. Paul and St. Peter did, when they said to their fellow elect: "If every transgression and disobedience [against the gospel of Jewish salvation] received a just recompence of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation [as that] which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord" Jesus, and his Apostles!"Wherefore the rather, brethren [partakers of the heavenly calling in Christ, who is the Apostle and High-Priest of our profession, or dispensation] give diligence to make your [high] calling and [distinguishing] election sure: for, if ye do these things, ye shall never fall" Linto the aggravated ruin, which awaits the neglectors of so great salvation,] Heb. ii. 2, 3, iii. I, 2 Pet. i. 10. Should a rigid Arminian say, "I cannot reconcile your doctrine of partial grace with divine goodness and equity, and therefore I cannot receive it. Why should not God bear with all men, as long as he did with Manasseh? With all nations, as long as he did with the Jews? And with all churches as long as he does with the church of Rome?" I an

swer:

Mercy may lengthen out her cords on particular occasions, to display her boundless extent. But if she did so on all occasions, she would countenance sin, and pour oil on the fire of wickedness. If God displayed the same goodness, and long-suffering towards all sinners, churches, and nations; then all sinners would be spared, till they had committed as many atrocious crimes as Manasseh, who filled Jerusalem with blood and witch craft. All fallen churches would be tolerated, till they had poisoned the gospel truth with as many errors, as the church of Rome imposes upon her votaries. And all corrupted nations would not only be preserved, till they had actually sacrificed their sons and daughters to devils; but also till they had an opportunity to kill the Prince of Life, coming

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free-will, which I beg leave to call the pater. nal and maternal causes of our eternal salvation. And therefore, whilst the rigid Arminians and the rigid Calvinists make two partial, solitary, barren gospels, by parting mercy and justice,-free-grace and free-will; let Bible-christians stand up, in theory and practice, for the one entire gospel of Christ. Let them marry preventing and assisting freegrace, with prevented and assisted Freewill; so shall they consistently hold the two gospel-axioms, and evangelically maintain the doctrines of grace and justice, which are all suspended on the partial election and re. probation of distinguishing grace, and on the impartial election and reprobation of remunerative justice.

Till we do this, we shall spoil the gospel, by confounding the dispensations of divine grace; we shall grieve those, whom God has not grieved, and comfort those, whom God would not have comforted; we shall involve the truth in clouds of darkness; and availing ourselves of that darkness, we shall separate what God has joined, and join what he has separated; causing the most unnatural divisions and monstrous mixtures, and doing in the doctrinal world what the fallen Corinthian did in the moral, when he tore his mother from his father's bosom, and made her his own incestuous wife. In a word, we shall tear the impartial election of justice from the partial election of grace; and, according to our Pelagian or Augustinian taste, we shall espouse the one, and fight against the other. If we embrace only the election of impartial justice, we shall propagate proud. dull, and uncomfortable Pelagianism. And if we embrace only the election of partial grace, we shall propagate wanton Antinomianism, and wanton cruelty, or absolute reprobation from eternal life. We shall generate the conceits of finished salvation and finished damnation, which are the upper and lower parts of the doctrinal Syren, whom Dr. Crisp mistook for the gospel; the head and tail of the unevangelical chimera, which Calvin supposed to have sprung from the Lion of the tribe of Judah. But if we equally receive the election of grace and that of justice, we shall have the whole truth as it is in Jesus;— the chaste woman who stands in heaven clothed with the sun, and having the moon, [Pelagian changes, and Calvinian innovations,] under her feet. Nor will candid Christians be offended at her having two breasts, to give her children the sincere milk of the word; and two arms, to defend herself against Pelagian. ism and Calvinism, the obstinate errors, which attack her on the right hand and on the left. She has put forth her two arms in this two-fold Essay; and, if her adversaries do not resist her, as the Jews did Stephen by

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in person to gather them, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings. So universal a mercy as this, would be the greatest cruelty to my. riads of men, and instead of setting off divine justice, would for a time lay it under a total eclipse.

Besides, according to this partial, this levelling scheme, God would have been obliged to make all men kings, as Manasseh;-all churches christian, as the church of Rome;and all people his peculiar people, as the Jewish nation. But even then, distinguishing grace would not have been abolished; unless God had made all men archangels, all churches like the triumphant church, and all nations like the glorified nation which inhabits the heavenly Caanan. So monstrous are the absurdities, which result from the levelling scheme of the men, who laugh at the doctrine of the gospel-dispensations; and of those who will not allow divine sovereignty and supreme wisdom, to dispense unmerited favours as they please; and to deal out their talents with a variety, which, upon the whole, answers the most excellent ends; as displaying best the excellency of a government, where Sovereignty, Mercy, and Justice wisely agree to sway their common sceptre.

Should a Pelagian Leveller refuse to yield to these arguments, under pretence that "They lead to the Calvinian doctrines of lawless grace, free-wrath, and absolute reprobation; I answer this capital objection five different ways.

1. The objector is greatly mistaken: For, holding forth the gratuitous reprobation of partial grace, as the Scriptures do, is the only way to open the eyes of candid Calvinists, to keep the simple from drinking into their plausible errors, and to rescue the multitude of passages, on which they found their absolute gratuitous predestination to eternal life and eternal death. I say it again, rigid Calvinism is the child of confusion, and lives merely by sucking its mother's corrupted milk. Would you destroy the brat, only kill its mother: destroy confusion: divide the word of God aright: carry gospel-light into the centre of the dark womb, where that monstrous error has been conceived; and lead the rigid predestinarians to the truth, the delightful truth, whence their error has been derived, by the mistakes or sleight of men, and by the cunning craftiness whereby the spirit of error lies in wait to deceive, and you will destroy the antinomian election, and the cruel repobation which pass for gospel. In order to this, you strike at those serpents with the swords of your mouths, and cry out, Absurd!-unscriptural!-horrible!-diabolical!" But, by this means, you will never kill one of them: There is but one method to

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stopping their ears, it is to be hoped, that some of them will impartially renounce the errors of heated Pelagius and heated Augustine, and will honour Christ both as their Saviour and their Judge, by equally embra cing the doctrines of Grace, and the doctrines of Justice.

END OF THE SECOND ESSAY.

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extirpate them:-Hold out the partial election and reprobation maintained by the sacred writers. Throw your rod, like Moses, amidst the rods of the Magicians. Let it first become a serpent, which you can take up with pleasure and safety, display the true partiality of divine grace: openly preach the Scripture election of grace; and boldly assert the gratuitous reprobation of inferior grace. So shall your harmless serpent swallow up the venomous serpents of your adversaries. The true reprobation shall devour the false. Bigoted Calvinists will be confounded, and hide themselves for fear of the truth: and candid Calvinists will see the finger of God, and acknowledge, that your rod is superior to theirs, and that the harmless reprobation of inferior grace, which we preach, has fairly swallowed up the horrible reprobation of free-wrath, which they contend for.

Be neither ashamed nor afraid of our serpent, our Reprobation. Like Christ, it has not only the wisdom of the serpent, but also the innocency of the dove. You may handle it without danger: Nay, you may put it into your bosom; and, instead of stinging you with despair, and filling you with chilling horror, it will warm your soul with admiration for the manifold wisdom, and variegated goodness of God; it will make you sharpsighted in the truth of the gospel, and in the errors of over-doing evangelists. In the light of this truth you will, every where, see a glorious rainbow, where before you saw nothing but a dark cloud.

When our serpent has had this blessed effect, you may take it out of your bosom for external use, and it will become a rod fit to chastise the errors of Pelagius and Augustine;-of Calvin and Socinus. But use it with such gentleness and candour, that all the spectators may see, you do not deal in free-wrath, and that there is as much difference between the gratuitous reprobation, which Calvin and Zanchius hold forth, and the gratuitous reprobation, which our blessed Lord and St. Paul maintain, as there is between the blasted, dry rod of Korah, and the blossoming fragrant rod of Aaron:-between the bright morning star, inferior in

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